Thursday, May 7, 2015

Frankincense and Cancer?

When, three days in a row, people email us variations of the same inquiry, it is time to write about it.

This week the inquiries take the form of  " My (fill in relationship) has been diagnosed with / is battling (fill in the type or organ) cancer.  Which of your Frankincense oils will be most helpful, and how should we administer it?"

And the messages make me want to cry.    This is the answer...followed by the science, followed by my opinion.

Almost any of our Frankincense oils can provide valuable emotional and spiritual support to your relative and to those who love him/her. Either by diffusion,  or, properly diluted, in a hand or foot massage, Frankincense has a long history of proven value.  Personally I would reach for our Boswellia Carterii CO2 extracted because the CO2 extracts contain a powerful anti-depressant component, Incensole acetate, not found in significant amounts in the distilled essential oils. But that is personal taste. 

Please note that I said "emotional and spiritual support."   A brief tour of the internet will show a LOT of research on the effects of specific Frankincense extracts and components on various strains of cancer cells in a petri dish in a laboratory.  Most of the success stories concern the effect of Boswellic Acid, a component of Frankincense Resin.   The problem is, Boswellic Acid is NOT a volatile component of the resin. It does NOT distill over into the essential oil. There is NO  Boswellic Acid in Frankincense Essential Oil nor in CO2 Extracted Frankincense oil.    At one time a large marketing company made claims that their Frankincense EO did contain this substance.  After a couple of years of these misleading claims the founder of the company himself wrote a letter to their affiliates explaining that Boswellic Acid is not present in their essential oil.  There are many published studies showing the effectiveness of various alcohol extractions of Frankincense Resin against various strains of cancer cells.  I have seen some research indicating that Frankincense oil, *in a petri dish, in a lab* may have an effect on a specific strain of bladder cancer cells. There is other research showing that certain components of Myrrh oil may be even more effective on specific strains of breast, cervical, and/or lung cancer cells. (Why do we not see marketers recommending Myrrh Oil for cancer? Perhaps they don't have as much of it to sell.?)

Long story short: the leap from experimental success in a petri dish in a lab to being actually able to effect the growth of cancer cells in human or animal tissue is huge. 

I wish I could tell you that one of our products can or could reverse the growth of a cancerous tumor in a loved one.  What I can do is offer products that may give emotional support, perhaps ease some pain and discomfort,  perhaps lift the spirits. personal belief?  I believe that there is a special place in Hell reserved for those who will give false hope to the suffering in order to increase their profits.

I wish I could give you a different answer. But there is not one.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Favorite Songs and Starfish

Why do we try?

Today I got an email from Pinterest, with a list of Pins they thought I would enjoy. the first 10 or 12 were outrageous, dangerous misapplications of the oils I love, usually to babies or animals who have no choice.  I gave up after that, there may have been something I would have enjoyed, but I couldn't wade through any more dreck.

It was discouraging.  We have spent 20 odd years studying and trying to teach the appropriate use of the oils we love and make available, and sometimes the sheer volume of the chorus urging neat use and internal use for any or no reason just seems deafening and overwhelming.

But then I got a letter from a young mother looking for appropriate remedies for some childhood woes... "My neighbor says to give him  ______ to drink will help, but it doesn't feel right."  Thank you. Yes, it doesn't feel right because it isn't right.  And we discussed some gentle and safe alternatives.

I love Kris Kristofferson's music.  And in my car I find myself hitting "replay" on the CD... to listen, yet again, to "Beat the Devil"... and I realized why I love that song so... I'm going to quote, and misquote, his final verse...

To Beat The Devil   © Kris Kristofferson

"And you still can hear me singin' to the people who don't listen,
To the things that I am sayin', prayin' someone's gonna hear.
And I guess I'll die explaining how the things that they complain about,
Are things they could be changin', hopin' someone's gonna care.

I was born a lonely singer, and I'm bound to die the same,
But I've got to feed the hunger in my soul.
And if I never have a nickel, I won't ever die ashamed.
'Cos I don't believe that no-one wants to know. "

And that song that I love continues to remind me that "someone wants to know"
And so we continue talking and teaching...for the someone who wants to know.

One of my favorite fables has always been the story of the Starfish:

(For those who can't se the graphic: The Starfish Story: Many starfish washed up on shore. A young boy started picking them up and throwing them back into the ocean. Someone saw what he was doing and told him that it was pointless, that there were too many to save, that it wouldn't made a difference. Throwing another starfish into the sea, the little boy responded, "It makes a difference to this one.")   Origin unknown.

I continue to be grateful to the starfish, to the ones who do want to know.